Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 120

did not, from the effect
holes in the bottom of the globe lamps used at Vauxhall[144] have in
keeping them clean, learn to have such holes in their street lamps.
But, these holes being made for another purpose, namely, to
communicate flame more suddenly to the wick by a little flax hanging
down through them, the other use, of letting in air, seems not to have
been thought of; and therefore, after the lamps have been lit a few
hours, the streets of London are very poorly illuminated.

The mention of these improvements puts me in mind of one I proposed,
when in London, to Dr. Fothergill, who was among the best men I have
known, and a great promoter of useful projects. I had observed that
the streets, when dry, were never swept, and the light dust carried
away; but it was suffered to accumulate till wet weather reduced it to
mud, and then, after lying some days so deep on the pavement that
there was no crossing but in paths kept clean by poor people with
brooms, it was with great labor raked together and thrown up into
carts open above, the sides of which suffered some of the slush at
every jolt on the pavement to shake out and fall, sometimes to the
annoyance of foot passengers. The reason given for not sweeping the
dusty streets was that the dust would fly into the windows of shops
and houses.

An accidental occurrence had instructed me how much sweeping might be
done in a little time. I found at my door in Craven Street[145] one
morning, a poor woman sweeping my pavement with a birch broom. She
appeared very pale and feeble, as just come out of a fit of sickness. I
asked who employed her to sweep there. She said, "Nobody; but I am very
poor and in distress, and I sweeps before gentlefolkses doors, and hopes
they will give me something." I bid her sweep the whole street clean,
and I would give her a shilling. This was at nine o'clock; at twelve she
came for the shilling. From the slowness I saw at first in her working I
could scarce believe that the work was done so soon, and sent my servant
to examine it, who reported that the whole street was swept perfectly
clean, and all the dust placed in the gutter, which was in the middle;
and the next rain washed it quite away, so that the pavement, and even
the kennel,[146] were perfectly clean.

I then judged that if that feeble woman could sweep such a street

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Text Comparison with Franklin's Way to Wealth; or, "Poor Richard Improved"

Page 0
Darton, Junr.
Page 1
with Biographical and Interesting Anecdotes 1 6 Watt's Catechism and Prayers, in 1 vol.
Page 2
COURTEOUS READER, I HAVE heard that nothing gives an author so great pleasure, as to find his works respectfully quoted by others.
Page 3
] "Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labour wears, while the used key is always bright," as Poor Richard says.
Page 4
" [Illustration] 'Methinks I hear some of you say, "Must a man afford himself no leisure?" I will tell thee, my friend, what Poor Richard says, "Employ thy time well, if thou meanest to gain leisure; and, since thou art not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour.
Page 5
" "If you would be wealthy, think of saving, as well as of getting.
Page 6
" And again, "At a great pennyworth pause a while:" he means, that perhaps the cheapness is apparent only, and not real; or the bargain, by straitening thee in thy business, may do thee more harm than good.
Page 7
1, 1805.
Page 8
When you have got your bargain, you may, perhaps, think little of payment; but, as Poor Richard says, "Creditors have better memories than debtors; creditors are a superstitious sect, great observers of set days and times.
Page 9
--I am, as ever, thine to serve thee, RICHARD SAUNDERS.